So you can read my books

Monday, July 15, 2013



My philosophy of life is that the meek shall inherit nothing but debasement, frustration and ignoble deaths;

that there is security in personal strength; that you can fight City Hall and win; that any action is better than no action, even if it's the wrong action;

that you never reach glory or self-fulfillment unless you're willing to risk everything, dare anything, put yourself dead on the line every time;

and that once one becomes strong or rich or potent or powerful it is the responsibility of the strong to help the weak become strong.
  • The Harlan Ellison Hornbook, (9 August 1973)

Whatever happened to me in my life, happened to me as a writer of plays. I'd fall in love, or fall in lust. And at the height of my passion, I would think, "So this is how it feels,"

and I would tie it up in pretty words.

I watched my life as if it were happening to someone else.

My son died. And I was hurt, but I watched my hurt, and even relished it, a little, for now I could write a real death, a true loss.

 My heart was broken by my dark lady, and I wept, in my room, alone; but while I wept, somewhere inside I smiled.

For I knew I could take my broken heart and place it on the stage of The Globe, and make the pit cry tears of their own.
  • William Shakespeare, as portrayed by Neil Gaiman as the playwright is looking back over his career.


In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with.

But I would rather have it bent and dulled and know I had to put it on the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it,

and know that I had something to write about,

than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well oiled in the closet, but unused.
  • Preface to The First Forty-Nine Stories (1944)


I start with an intriguing premise. If we go all the way back to WATCHERS, the premise is

 What if an experiment, seeking to enhance intelligence, produced a dog as smart as any human being, and what, if the dog escaped the laboratory?

Then I wonder about the lead of the story, the first person who will interact with the dog.

This is all in my head. I don’t write character profiles. When I have the character that seems the most interesting one for the story at hand–

in this case a former soldier and a widower, Travis, who in the first scene is going into the woods to commit suicide–

I ask myself what the book is about. I don’t mean plot. Call it theme, subtext, whatever you want.

Often the theme comes quickly when I have my main character. Travis is in a dark place and to get himself out of it, he desperately needs to change.

The novel, then, would be about the difficulty of changing who we are, of undoing what we have become and redeeming ourselves. Now I can start to write.
      Dean Koontz on writing


“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends.

In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.”

“Writing is refined thinking.”

“Write with the door closed, and rewrite with the door open.”

For those of you who wonder what Victor Standish
does for fun at Meilori's.
Look at him playing trumpet at the haunted jazz club
to help out Quincy Coleman.


  1. What a panel of experts!

    I like the sentiments of most of them, but especially Hemingway and Ellison.

  2. D.G.:
    Hemingway and Ellison probably would've boxed one another til one of them dropped! They are certainly no-nonsense authors! :-)

  3. Hi Roland .. so pleased DG has been over - though she didn't mention Gaiman, which she did when she recently commented and mentioned Neverwhere .. I enjoyed the Newsnight video ..

    Thanks .. cheers Hilary

  4. This was so enjoyable, with some of my favorite authors, past and present. Gaiman, especially, is amazing. Thank you for stopping by my blog today~

  5. Wow, I feel like my IQ just edged up a couple points just by reading this post. Some terrific stuff here.

    I was particularly intrigued with the part about observing emotional experiences as if from a distance... with the idea of tapping into and recapturing those feelings later with words. I think all writers draw from personal experiences and emotions in order to reproduce them in writing, but the idea of being able to segregate the actual emotions from a dispassionate analysis of them while in the midst of experiencing them kinda blows my mind. (I guess I need a few more IQ points...)

  6. Hilary:
    Wasn't that video interesting and fun? Always good to see you here.

    Thanks for returning the visit. It is fun to read what the greats have to say about writing, isn't it?

    The greats always make you feel as if you're lagging behind them -- that's what makes them great I guess. :-)

    As writers we live life twice in a way: once ourselves, twice in reflection on how to use it in our prose. Thanks for visiting!

  7. Hi, Roland,

    You featured some giants here. I particularly liked what Stephen King had to say.....

    Thanks for the gift... I can't wait to read it. Unexpected work this week, so I should get to it by the weekend.

  8. I really loved the Gaiman/Shakespeare part. And Watchers!!! Einstein! good stuff. And I loved the video :)

  9. Michael:
    That you are willing to find time in your hectic, busy schedule to try means so much!

    Yes, King's ON WRITING is a short masterpiece!

    Words Crafter:
    Neil Gaiman is a genius and a magician with words no doubt! And I loved WATCHERS and Einstein, too!

    Wasn't that video great?